Mums and dads will be offered the option to ‘mix and match’ parental leave during the first year of their child’s life under new proposals set out today.
The Children and Families bill will give parents increased flexibility in childcare, allowing them to take it in turns to take parental leave, or take it at the same time for a maximum of 52 weeks combined.
Business minister Jo Swinson has explained the change, saying, “Employers will soon get used to more men taking time off after their child is born and more mothers returning to work earlier, shattering the perception that it is mainly a woman’s role to stay at home and look after the child.”
“These measures will really help our aim of ensuring more businesses are making best use of women’s talents throughout the organization. (It) will also allow fathers to have greater involvement in the early stages of pregnancy and raising their child.”
Other reforms detailed by the Department for Education include plans to streamline the adoption system, remove delays in family justice decision-making and extending the special educational needs system to cover children from birth to 25 years old.
Childcare will also be looked at with the removal of unnecessary bureaucracy and the introduction of childminder agencies, providing greater flexibility in care.
Children and families minister Edward Timpson has commented, “I am determined that every young person should be able to fulfil their potential regardless of their background. For this to happen we must tackle the disadvantages faced by our most vulnerable children and families. Our measures in the Children and Families Bill do just that.”
For more details of the bill, visit Department for Education’s Children and Families page